October is National Safe Work Month

October is National Safe Work Month

Every October Safe Work Australia focuses on workplace health and safety though National Safe Work Month.

National Safe Work Month shines the spotlight on safety at work, and it is a real call to action for employers and employees to think about their own, and others, safety.

This year’s focus is to think safe, work safe, be safe.

This annual campaign is an important one.

For me, safety at work got really personal one Tuesday morning, when, at the ripe old age of 21, I was blown up in a switchboard.

The incident resulted in second degree burns to about 15 per cent of my body, and I spent over a month recovering in the burns unit in Brisbane.

Oh, and the recovery involved having my dead skin forcibly removed each morning… need I say more.

Workplace incidents are a tragedy for everyone involved.

From the employer to the first responders, to those close to the victim.

And the sad part is that the vast majority of them are avoidable and preventable.

For 10 years I really struggled to grasp the ‘why me’ and I couldn’t tell people about what happened.

It was really hard to talk about. PTSD, maybe? Who knows? But I know that the emotional healing took way longer than the physical healing.

I was up and about in weeks, and back at work within months.

My wife Julie and I married that year, and we moved away from Gladstone for about 10 years before we returned to town during the Comalco Alumina Refinery construction period.

And, because I hadn’t seen people for so long, they wanted to know how I was, and how I recovered.

So, I started talking about the incident … and haven’t stopped.

That experience really has shaped a lot of the work that I do now.

Most of my working life is spent in the safety space, and our business works with leaders to create psychologically and physically safe teams and work environments.

In those environments, workers are encouraged to speak up about safety, and to ensure that they take responsibility for going home safely.

If you would like to help your workers make a difference for safety, or you just want to start a conversation about it, there are a heap of resources on the Safe Work Australia website – www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au.

Never miss an opportunity to talk about safety.

You might just save a life!

By Anton Guinea